A nice surprise

So, I’ve been sick all week with some horrid stomach flu and generally feeling miserable. I check Amazon on a whim, wanting to see if anyone maybe downloaded my book today, and find that *21* people have! (The rest of this week I’ve gotten one or two downloads a day). So that helps brighten my week some :)

Still here

I really wanted my next post to be the Clandestina scene ‘Kiss’ but it won’t be. I think (and hope, and pray, and cross-my-fingers) that I can have that scene up tomorrow though. I say that, but in all probability it won’t be.

*Sigh*

The last few days/weeks have been fairly same-y. I have an ok day, sometimes it isn’t great, but I usually get a little work done.. yet the moment it starts turning dark outside (at like 5pm wtf?) I get knocked over. I start to doubt myself and panic. It’s literally like clockwork. The moment I start feeling uneasy I can tell it’s officially evening. I worry about how I haven’t written enough, haven’t kept up with my blog, how I can’t find a real job,.. it’s exhausting.

With all that comes guilt, and the idea that if I do post on my blog people will just be disappointed it isn’t about Delphinium, or a scene. The point of the scenes idea was to give me small steps to take, so I can feel confident and keep people in the loop. Welp, that failed.

Can’t even tell if this sort of post is appropriate. I mean, yeah, it’s my blog- but you’re here because I’m a writer, not because I’m a depressed post-college 20something. Right?

All that said, I have gotten some work done. Most of it’s worldbuilding, some of it’s plot-related. So yeah, still here and still writing. Slowly, true, but I haven’t stopped. Sometimes Noctuina is all I have.

Name

Does it matter if I’m at vmjaskiernia.com or vmjaskiernia.wordpress.com? I got my own domain so I could use the hosted-wordpress, but now that that’s fallen apart and I’ve just come back to the ol’ regular one, should I keep the domain? Is one more professional than the other? I’m asking mostly since it’s time to renew and I don’t know if it’s worth the cash for another year.

And no, I haven’t forgotten about the scenes! I can’t believe I haven’t posted it yet, the whole point was for me to do short work quick but even that’s difficult some days. Sorry guys.

Scenes

I’m working on the first scene that I plan to put online. It’s short, shouldn’t be more than 1000 words, about how Pierre and Lizzy met for the first time. I didn’t know that’s how they met when I started the scene. I just started writing and it.. happened.

I used to RP (roleplay) online- write a paragraph with my characters, someone else replies with their own paragraph, and so on. An interactive story. I learned to write those afternoons making up stories with friends. Pierre was actually a character that I made specifically to rp with so his story didn’t get muddled with my ‘just my story’ stuff. Ironic how he’s the protagonist in my first published work.

So I can see how it’s easier for me to write out a short scene and then stand back, assuming someone else will then come in and give me something to reply to. It’s how I thought I’d publish my work actually- short scenes that were out of order and stacked together to form a chapter-book of sorts.

(Larkspur was originally a scene called Lady of Death. The only two characters to make an appearance were Pierre and Mora, with mentions of Lizzy).

You can see how I then thought Larkspur, at 15K, was fleshed out. There were subplots and characters I didn’t intend to introduce at all showing up. Wolfram’s love even got a name-change between Larkspur and Delphinium (her name isn’t in the first book though, so there aren’t any limited edition versions with that in it. There are though versions where I call Mora’s realm Plwto, then Thanatos, and finally Akhlys ).

Delphinium went even further. What was supposed to be a sequel at a bit over twice the length grew into a tome that’ll be at least 6 times as long as Larkspur. There’s at least three strong subplots and I can’t tell if that’s too much.

In a way I’m worried about going ‘back’ to scenes. What if I get used to just writing random bits and pieces, but forget to put them all together to make a real story later?

Well, there is nothing saying I have to leave the scene after it’s done. If there’s something there for me to use I can let it grow into a book or a series. You’ll have seen a part, probably an important part, but it won’t be the whole story.

(That’s exactly my current ‘problem’ with Delphinium. I wrote a few scenes that happened around the same time, started to connect them together, and -poof- I made a real book. Something something green fairy joke).

Even if it is just backstory that doesn’t come up but in passing, with writing it out I’ll have the extra that I wouldn’t have. You’ll have it too. And not just as a reply in an interview or an explanation given after the fact, but an actual slice of story.

 

Not writing alone

Writing is lonely. There’s a reason we crave reviews and thoughts from our readers- while it’s all in our own heads and on our computers it’s not as real as when others get at it. It’s more than affirmation that the work is good, it’s just the plain enthusiasm and shared love. It’s the same reason you find subreddits or forums for your favorite shows and talk about it- it’s community.

I just finished listening to episode #129 of the self-publishing podcast (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Y8-IjSWMgM) and they talk about reasons for writing. I find myself identifying strongly with Dave- who says he likes writing, likes having written, but doesn’t like having to write. It’s a weird thought process where I know I like doing what I’m doing, and I even like doing it as I’m doing it… but making myself start is like pulling teeth.

They then go and theorize how/why Dave is like this. They mention a situation that happened to me- kids at school reading what I wrote and passing it around wanting more. It’s such an amazing feeling to get the praise and desire for your work from others. I looked forward to writing and handing it off to friends, knowing that even a teacher or two got a hold of the work and liked it. I went to different classes as fast as I could so I could sit and talk to friends about characters and story- both mine and theirs if they were writers too. It was a little personal fandom and it was so fun.

Now I’m in my mid-20s, out of college, with little to no social circle to speak of. So I write my work and I like it, I’m proud of it, but who do I have to share this with? I’ve tried to find ‘writer-friends’ online but it doesn’t seem to work that well anymore. Writers just end up talking about their own work, wanting to push it to others. I get that, hell I’ve done the exact same- but it’s more of a business/work deal than a sharing-with-friends.

Oh there’s lots of general encouraging writer-stuff everywhere, but who is going to be excited that I worked through a plot problem? That I found out the specific name I gave a character has a deeper meaning that ties into the story?

For instance: I learned that ‘Spade’, the Italian suit that corresponds to our Spades, means literally Swords (plural). It’s also a feminine noun (most languages give a gender to things while English does not). Given that the Italian suits in Clandestina signify the Margrave station (which I used instead of the French Marquis on purpose because it signifies border-lands, and it has ‘grave’ in the name) I took this more literally. So in Piques there isn’t just the Margrave Spade and his wife, but several women who are known as the Ladies of Swords.

It’s a small thing, and while the characters play important parts, figuring out that background and working from it is trivia-y. But it’s cool! It’s something a fan would smile about. It’s something I want to tell people and get a ‘Oh, awesome!’ reply, instead of adding it into the book to read like an etymology lesson.

I had this idea last evening that I would start talking about my work, writing short scenes that may or may not end up in the books proper, talk inspiration and background information on my blog. The scenes I might put up on deviantART as well. I don’t know if this sort of thing will ruin or enhance the books, I’d hope the latter. People do seem to like spoilers and trailers for that reason- getting a taste is tempting.

I’m still not entirely sure I’ll do it, but it does seem like a good way to start up the friendly-community chatter that I used to like. Maybe someone’ll will Like something, or comment, and connections will grow from there.

Stories and writing

Writing, I think, is one of the best ways to convey a story. I’ve often been bothered that my words may not portray what I want them to, especially not in a way that might happen if I drew, or made movies/games, or had some visual medium to play with. But there is just so much more to words and our imagination.

First of all, a book is overflowing with details and extras that just can’t be seen through other media. It’s why George R R Martin decided to write A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) the way he did- he wanted to stuff in as much epic scope as possible so that it would be unfilmable (he was annoyed at being limited with what he could write for TV at the time). And while HBO is making a great effort, we all know there are scenes and characters who just feel different or wrong because we can’t see into their heads.

Also, I personally at least, get tired after a few hours of watching TV. Even marathoning a great show on Netflix weighs you down after a bit. Sure, you may occasionally pull an all-nighter to watch a whole anime series without pause- I’ve done it three times* (for those interested, the anime were Ef~ A Tale of Memories, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and Your Lie in April) but it isn’t common. Games? Similar- I started playing Fallout 3 (yes 3) a few days ago and the story and worldbuilding are amazing.

But getting hooked on a book and essentially ignoring the entire world until I finish it- now that happens to me a lot. I’m only taking a break from a book right now to write this out and then it’s back to my kindle app. Sorry, even Vault 101 isn’t enough to get me to put aside the story for an extended period of time.

That isn’t to say visuals aren’t important. I sketch sometimes and I’m trying to get better at drawing so that I can show how certain characters or places look. But there’s just something about words.

And the words! Words are important. They aren’t just a means for me to describe a fictional world that you then read about and see in your own mind- though that is in itself magic and telepathy. Add in how books make us feel, want, and connect with beings that never were and you can add witchcraft to that too.

Words to me have a feel, a taste. Good dense writing just seems to require moving my lips and tongue along with what my mind is processing. There’s a rhythm as well to good prose that I hope I manage in my own work.

I suppose that’s the point of this post. To remind myself that writing and books are important as a medium. Sometimes I see amazing art and feel like I write because I can’t do another art better. I do truly love visual media and part of me wonders if my stories would be better as anime, or films, or comics. I sometimes forget that I just plain love words.

 

*Now that I’m thinking, I’m pretty sure I marathoned Elfen Lied and Future Diary essentially without pause as well. Pink haired protagonists for the win.